Government has secured funding from Unicef for various sporting activities in 11 districts across the country amounting to $220 000 (about K92.4 million).
The districts are Machinga, Thyolo, Salima, Chikwawa, Nkhotakota, Salima, Nkhata Bay, Karonga, Mangochi, Balaka and Dedza.
With such finances, 10 selected primary schools in each district are already competing in football, netball and volleyball and most districts have already rolled out such tournaments.
In an interview with Minister of Sports Grace Chiumia during the week, she said sports at primary school level had no sponsorship for decades as no companies were willing to invest.
“When we approached Unicef to consider partnering us in promoting education and sports they readily agreed. Sports is not only about identifying talent is schools, but it is an important component in the health-being of people. It has been established by professionals that students who take part in sports are healthier and perform well in school,” said Chiumia.
She said the partnership with Unicef has more aspects to it, and one of them is Action for Adolescent Girls in which government is using the power of sports to encourage girls to remain in school and shun early marriages.
Sports codes that are being competed for in this project include football, netball, and volleyball in the 11 districts, according to Chiumia.
“In 2013, government and the Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) formulated a strategy plan that was aimed at developing athletes that can bring us medals at continental and global tournaments. We can only do this if we have stable sponsorship at primary and secondary school levels. This partnership with Unicef is part of that,” said Chiumia.
Chiumia also announced that they are in talks with more companies and organisations so that all the districts in the country can enjoy fully sponsored sporting activities at primary school level.
MOC president Oscar Kanjala said their role in the long athlete’s development plan is to provide scholarship and training to those athletes that stand out.
“We have programmes to provide or source scholarship s for those athletes so that they can have opportunity to train and grow into world stars,” said Kanjala in a separate interview.